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Five-member interdisciplinary team receives 2012 XCaliber Award


   

Tom Martin, Eloise Coupey, Ed Dorsa, Ron Kemnitzer, and Lisa McNair From left: Tom Martin, Eloise Coupey, Ed Dorsa, Ron Kemnitzer, and Lisa McNair


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 2, 2012 – A five-member team made up of faculty members from three different colleges has received the 2012 XCaliber Award for excellence as a group involved with technology-assisted teaching.

Members of the award-winning team include

Established in 1996 by Office of the Provost, the XCaliber Award (shorthand for exceptional, high-caliber work) is presented annually by the Virginia Tech Center for Innovation in Learning to recognize individual faculty members or teams of faculty and staff who integrate technology in teaching and learning. The award celebrates innovative, student-centered approaches to learning activities.

The team was recognized for its work in the Interdisciplinary Product Development Studio. The group was further commended for designing and developing learning activities involving smart objects, a phenomenon that is estimated to be several years away from being adopted within the industry.

The Interdisciplinary Product Development Studio is a team-based experience in pervasive computing, where smart devices blend seamlessly, both physically and cognitively, with the user’s environment. Examples of student projects include designing dorm rooms to better support students with disabilities, creating innovative helmets for firefighters, and developing diabetes management products for children and their caregivers. The team has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to support and assess the course.

Students practice 21st-century skills, such as interdisciplinary teaming, user-centered design, and product placement, organized around project-based learning activities in a studio setting. The open-ended projects create situations where, before solving a problem, students must determine the “right” problem to solve. The faculty team has developed a learning environment that promotes collaboration and a pedagogical model that enables interdisciplinary approaches to design problems. Faculty team members act as facilitators to the students as they work in self-formed and self-managed teams.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 225 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $496 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.